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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
Number of posts: 46,496

About Me

Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Danziger toon - From Catch 22

There is a dangerous bubble in the fossil-fuel economy

Last year, shortly after the election, the coal baron Robert Murray received a phone call from President-elect Donald Trump. “He said, ‘Tell your coal miners I got their backs,’ ” Murray later reported to Fox News. “Then he said, ‘I love you, man.’ ” Murray, who is the chairman and C.E.O. of Murray Energy, the largest private coal company in the country, was one of the first fossil-fuel executives to support Trump’s candidacy. Prior to the Republican National Convention, he hosted a fund-raiser for Trump in Charleston, West Virginia, attracting nearly five hundred thousand dollars in donations and contributing hundreds of thousands more from his own pocket. “It was eight years of pure hell under the Democrat Party and Obama,” Murray recently told “Frontline.” He added, laughing into the camera, “But we won! It’s a wonderful victory!”

Now Murray and his ilk have scored another victory. Last Tuesday, Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, filed a proposal with the Federal Register to formally repeal the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan. Finalized in 2015, the C.P.P. was designed to hasten state utilities’ adoption of renewable energy, improve air quality and public health across the nation, and, most notable, insure that the United States met its commitments under the Paris climate accord—a minimum twenty-six-per-cent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2025, based on 2005 levels. In a statement on the proposed repeal, Pruitt criticized the plan’s “devastating effects” on the American people. “The CPP ignored states’ concerns and eroded longstanding and important partnerships,” he said. The day before, in a speech to a group of miners in Hazard, Kentucky, Pruitt had echoed Murray’s triumphalist tone, declaring, “The war on coal is over.”

There is little doubt that one of the “important partnerships” Pruitt had in mind was with Murray Energy. His current second-in-command at the E.P.A., Andrew Wheeler, was a lobbyist for the company until mid-August, and when Pruitt was attorney general of Oklahoma, Murray was a top donor to his super pac. The C.E.O. was also a co-plaintiff in eight of the fourteen lawsuits that Pruitt brought against the E.P.A. before Trump put him in charge of the agency. One involved the C.P.P. According to Murray and Pruitt’s interpretation, the plan was a classic case of governmental overreach; the E.P.A., they claimed, did not have the regulatory authority to impose emissions targets on individual states. Thanks largely to their efforts, the C.P.P. never actually went into effect. It remains tied up in federal court.

Yet Pruitt’s proposed repeal is itself a kind of overreach. The E.P.A. can no more stop the decline of coal than Trump can prove that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. As Jim Krane, an energy researcher at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, told me, “The federal government has only tertiary influence over the U.S. energy sector, which responds foremost to market signals and secondarily to state-level regulation.” In reversing many of Obama’s keystone climate and environmental policies, Pruitt and Trump are conveniently ignoring these market signals in order to help out the fossil-fuel millionaires and billionaires who put them in office. Their actions could have disastrous consequences, not only for the climate but also for the global economy.


Monday Toon Roundup








Health Care


What Trumpers Want

"It's Time We Had A Little Chat"

Russian Pop Star Zelimkhan Bakaev, Tortured and Killed In Chechnya Anti-Gay Roundup

Sources are reporting that Russian singer Zelimkhan Bakaev was arrested, tortured, and murdered by by Chechen authorities due to suspicion of homosexuality.”

Bakaev was last seen on August 8 in Grozny, where he had come from Moscow for his sister’s wedding

Bakaev’s Instagram account has mysteriously been deleted, but a small Twitter account in his name remains active, offering no recent updates. Earlier this week, Igor Kocketkovof the Russian LGBT Network made a statement to the media that touched on the disappearance, saying:

“At the end of August, we received confirmation of our earlier presumption that [Bakaev] was detained by Chechen authorities due to suspicion of homosexuality.”

A source close to activists in the region have stated that Bakaev, 26, was tortured to death. “He arrived in Grozny and was picked up by police within three hours,” they claimed. “Within ten hours he was murdered.”



More than 30 women come forward to accuse director James Toback of sexual harassment

He prowled the streets of Manhattan looking for attractive young women, usually in their early 20s, sometimes college students, on occasion a high schooler. He approached them in Central Park, standing in line at a bank or drug store or at a copy center while they worked on their resumes.

His opening line had a few variations. One went: “My name’s James Toback. I’m a movie director. Have you ever seen ‘Black and White’ or ‘Two Girls and a Guy’?”

Probably not. So he’d start to drop names. He had an Oscar nomination for writing the Warren Beatty movie “Bugsy.” He directed Robert Downey Jr., in three movies. The actor, Toback claimed, was a close friend; he had “invented him.” If you didn’t believe him, he would pull out a business card or an article that had been written about him to prove he had some juice in Hollywood. That he could make you a star.

But first, he’d need to get to know you. Intimately. Trust him, he’d say. It’s all part of his process.



Another fucking predator who needs to go to Jail.

Congress tries to squeeze more out of Social Security, wrecking its customer service

By Michael Hiltzik

Since they’ve been unsuccessful (thus far) at cutting Social Security benefits, congressional Republicans are continuing to resort to the backdoor assault on the program by starving its administrative budget. In the latest versions of the agency’s budget under consideration in Washington, the House is planning to keep the budget at the same inadequate funding level as the current year. The ever more ambitious Senate is trying to cut it by $400 million, or nearly 4%.

To retirees, near-retirees and disability applicants the effects aren’t invisible. They show up in deteriorating customer service at every level.

“Years of SSA cuts have already taken their toll,” Kathleen Romig of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported earlier this month, “leading to long waits on the phone and in field offices for taxpayers and beneficiaries, as well as record-high disability backlogs.”

The Social Security Administration used to mail annual statements of earnings records and prospective benefits to all covered workers, in compliance with a law enacted in 1989. These have now been eliminated for almost all workers, as the agency pleads poverty. It says that anyone can gain access to their records online, but that’s a lousy substitute as long as millions of workers and retirees have only spotty access to the internet or lack the ability to navigate the web.

You can expect all these problems to keep getting worse.


Toon- Only when Democrats are in charge....

Sunday's Candorville Toon - Fake News

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